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Aggressive Behavior Among the Al-Shabaab Terrorists Essay

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Updated: May 22nd, 2022

Hostile behavior is deeply embedded in human nature; hence, it is a constant person encounter. Aggression defines feelings of antipathy, which result in conduct predetermined to cause harm to another person (Kfir, 2017). Such entities, such as an individual, group, or nation, could propagate acts of violence. It is usually characterized by malice and an intent to inflict pain. In recent times, there have been numerous incidences of terrorist attacks in various parts of the world. Several institutions and individuals are baffled by this incident as they have not only lost their sources of livelihood but also their loved ones. Such theoretical models as social learning, general aggression, and drive attempt to explain hostile tendencies. The drive approach best describes the factors that contribute to aggressive behavior portrayed by terrorists.

A terrorist attack that occurred recently in Somalia left several innocent people dead. According to UN News (2020), the attack took place in Mogadishu, at the Elite Hotel on August 16, 2020, the radical group of Al-Shabaab. A car was bombed at that hotel, then a fierce gun battle between the terrorists and the local authorities ensued. As a result, about sixteen people lost their lives, while more than two hundred individuals were injured (UN News, 2020). Al-Shabaab is a branch of the Al-Qaida terrorist group established in 2006 in Somalia’s southern and central parts. It poses a significant security threat in East Africa and some parts of the United States.

Drive Theoretical Model of Aggression in Al-Shabaab

The drive model comprises three significant independent variables that contribute to the radicalization of terrorist groupings. They include the push, pull, and personal factors, but only push and pull ones appear to dominate in the Al-Shabaab subversives. The former are the underlying sources that propel susceptible individuals to radicalization, while the latter are the incentives that the terrorist groups offer to attract and retain recruits (Orsini, 2020).

Joblessness is one of the push factors that engage vulnerable youths to join Al-Shabaab, as it pays its members an estimated $50 to $150 monthly (Orsini, 2020). Most teenagers and young adults have joined the group as it offers an easy way to make money to cater to their needs. Another enabling condition is the dread of being persecuted by the family for failing to become a part of the group. One could be easily referred to as a coward for not being able to measure up to his peers. Additionally, some youths join the cult to avenge their female relatives who were assaulted by the TFG soldiers in Somalia.

On the other hand, pull elements constitute fame, psychological exploitation, and securing paradise. The Al-Shabaab recruiters offer their recruits a troop of their soldiers. Once an individual is enrolled, they are asked to attract others who will be subject to them. The terrorist group members are told that it is their religious obligation to combat Islam’s enemy. Those who do not believe in Allah are referred to as infidels, and their lives are considered worthless. Furthermore, it is accepted teaching in Islam that those who die as martyrs when fighting for their God will be recompensed with paradise (Paulhus, 2018). Radicalization is a direct ticket to seeing their Maker in the afterlife. Such indoctrination is what has kept the terrorist group running.

Preventive Measures

Education is a powerful implement that could have helped curb violent extremism. Making learning accessible to everyone within the country can help keep the youths engaged and hinder their possibility of being lured into Al-Shabaab. Furthermore, various training and vocational schools could have been put in place to equip the susceptible teenagers with the necessary skills for the job market. Inadequate education leaves the youths with little or no option but to engage in radicalization to attain a source of livelihood (Paulhus, 2018). Education provides the necessary exposure that makes its recipients sturdy; hence, they cannot be easily swayed into subversive groups.

Further, building and promoting an attitude that encourages tolerance of differences in culture and religion is another way to counter aggressive tendencies. Diversity is what makes life colorful and meaningful, and living is a learning process (Orsini, 2020). Sharing views makes people better as they build on their weaknesses, and others mimic their good qualities. Malicious religious dogmas such as acquiring paradise by mercilessly killing innocent victims should have been ended long ago. The willingness to give one’s life for their God does not portray in any way their loyalty but the meaninglessness of their lives.

To conclude, aggressive behavior is a vice that ought to not be normalized; instead, it should be adequately addressed. People should strive to avoid succumbing to engaging in acts that will inflict pain on others. Religious dogmas are the main contributing factors to increased youth indulgence in acts of violent extremism. Moreover, people should learn to appreciate the cultural and religious distinctions which exist in society. The ideological differences do not portray enmity but are a reason for individuals to expand their social circle.


Kfir, I. (2017). . Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 40(9), 772βˆ’789. Web.

Orsini, A. (2020). . Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 1(1), 1βˆ’33. Web.

Paulhus, D. L., Curtis, S. R., & Jones, D. N. (2018). . Current Opinion in Psychology, 19(1), pp. 88βˆ’92. Web.

UN News. (2020). . Web.

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